Recent publications by project members

Peer-reviewed publications

Metcalf R, Fellows R, White HL, Quilliam RS (2024). Persistence of ‘wet wipes’ in beach sand: An unrecognised reservoir for localised E. coli contamination. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 201:116175

Metcalf R, Messer LF, White HL, Ormsby MJ, Matallana-Surget S, Quilliam RS (2024). Evidence of interspecific plasmid uptake by pathogenic strains of Klebsiella isolated from microplastic pollution on public beaches. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 461:132567

Metcalf R., White HL, Ormsby M J, Oliver DM, Quilliam R S (2022). From wastewater discharge to the beach: Survival of human pathogens bound to microplastics during transfer through the freshwater-marine continuum. Environmental Pollution. 319: 120955.

Moresco V, Charatzidoua A, Oliver DM, Weidmann M, Matallana-Surget S, Quilliam R S (2022). Binding, recovery, and infectiousness of enveloped and non-enveloped viruses associated with plastic pollution in surface water. Environmental Pollution. 308.

Metcalf R., White HL, Moresco V, Ormsby MJ, Oliver DM, Quilliam RS (2022). Sewage-associated plastic waste washed up on beaches can act as a reservoir for faecal bacteria, potential human pathogens, and genes for antimicrobial resistance. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 180.

Metcalf R, Oliver DM, Moresco V, Quilliam RS (2022). Quantifying the importance of plastic pollution for the dissemination of human pathogens: The challenges of choosing an appropriate ‘control’ material. Science of The Total Environment. 810: 152292

Yakimov MM, Bargiela R, Golyshin PN (2022). Calm and Frenzy: marine obligate hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria sustain ocean wellness. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 73: 337-345

Moresco V, Oliver DM, Weidmann M, Matallana-Surget S, Quilliam RS (2021). Survival of human enteric and respiratory viruses on plastics in soil, freshwater, and marine environments. Environmental Research. 199.

Ghuneim LJ, Distaso MA, Chernikova TN, Bargiela R, Lunev EA, Korzhenkov AA, Toshchakov SV, Rojo D, Barbas C, Ferrer M, Golyshina OV, Golyshin PN, Jones DL (2020). Utilization of low-molecular-weight organic compounds by the filterable fraction of a lotic microbiome. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 97(2).

Chernikova TN, Bargiela R, Toshchakov SV, Shivaraman V, Lunev EA, Yakimov MM, Thomas DN, Golyshin PN (2020). Hydrocarbon-Degrading Bacteria Alcanivorax and Marinobacter Associated With Microalgae Pavlova lutheri and Nannochloropsis oculate. Frontiers in Microbiology. 11: 2650

Dell’Anno F, Brunet C, Joaquim van Zyl L, Trindade M, Golyshin PN, Dell’Anno A, Ianora A, Sansone C (2020). Degradation of Hydrocarbons and Heavy Metal Reduction by Marine Bacteria in Highly Contaminated Sediments. Microorganisms. 8(9): 1402

Zadjelovic V, Chhun A, Quareshy M, Silvano E, Hernandez-Fernaud JR, Aguilo-Ferretjans MM, Bosch R, Dorador C, Gibson MI, Christie-Oleza JA (2020). Beyond oil degradation: enzymatic potential of Alcanivorax to degrade natural and synthetic polyesters. Environmental Microbiology. 22(4): 1356-1369

Wright RJ, Bosch R, Gibson MI, Christie-Oleza JA (2020). Plasticizer degradation by marine bacterial isolates: a proteogenomic and metabolomic characterization. Environmental Science and Technology. 54(4) 2244–2256

Rodrigues A, Oliver DM, McCarron A, Quilliam RS (2019). Colonisation of plastic pellets (nurdles) by E. coli at public bathing beaches. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 139: 376-380

Zadjelovic V, Gibson MI, Dorador C, Christie-Oleza JA (2019). Genome of Alcanivorax sp. 24: a hydrocarbon degrading bacterium isolated from marine plastic debris. Marine Genomics (in press)

Media coverage

“Special report: Deluge of tiny plastic pellets pollutes Scots coast”. The Sunday Post (26th February 2023)

“Viruses survive in fresh water by ‘hitchhiking’ on plastic, study finds”. The Guardian (27th June 2022)

“Viruses can survive in water by ‘hitch-hiking’ on microplastics, new study finds”. The Independent (27th June 2022)

“Microplastics Heath Risk Discovered in Hitchhiking Vomiting Viruses”. Newsweek (27th June 2022).

“’Hitch-hiking’ viruses on microplastics are beach risk”. Daily Telegraph (28th June 2022)

“Viruses can survive in water by ‘hitch-hiking’ on microplastics, new study finds”. The Irish Independent (28th June 2022)

“Some infectious viruses ‘hitchhike’ on tiny plastics found in water”. Science (28th June 2022)

“Viruses can survive in freshwater by hitch-hiking on plastics”. India Today (29th June 2022)


“What people who flush wet wipes should know…”. Daily Mirror (12th July 2022)

Question raised in Parliament to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Westminster Hall debates (14th June 2022).

“Wet wipes washed up on beaches put children at risk”. The Times (31st May 2022)

“’Drug-resistant’ diseases ‘colonise’ plastic waste on Scotland’s beaches”. STV News (30th May 2022)

“Harmful bacteria survives longer on plastic Scottish beach waste”. BBC News (30th May 2022)

“Dirty wet wipes that wash up on British beaches are still teaming with harmful faecal bacteria that can pose a risk to human health, study warns”. Daily Mail (30th May 2022)


“Billions of poisonous plastic pellets flooding into our rivers and seas every year”. The Mirror (19th June, 2019)

“E. coli, Vibrio… Quand la pollution plastique transporte des bacteriers pathogenes”. Le Parisien (12th March, 2019)

“I batteri patogeni viaggiano tra I continenti attaccati alla plastica”. National Geographic, Italia (18th March, 2019)

“Toxic bacteria hitch lift on plastic beads washed up on UK beaches”. The Guardian (12th March, 2019)

“Plastic on beaches teeming with E. coli”. The Scotsman (16th Feb, 2019)

“Stirling University study to probe disease spread by plastic”. The National (14th Dec, 2018)